Academy pick: Titanic (Cameron)
SF Strangelove’s pick: The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan)
Academy pick: Braveheart (Gibson)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Exotica (Egoyan)
Academy pick: Forrest Gump (Zemeckis)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Heavenly Creatures (Jackson)
Academy pick: Dances with Wolves (Costner)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Goodfellas (Scorsese)
Academy pick: Driving Miss Daisy (Beresford)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Do the Right Thing (Lee)
Academy pick: Out of Africa (Pollack)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Brazil (Gilliam)
Academy pick: Amadeus (Forman)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Stranger Than Paradise (Jarmusch)
Academy pick: Terms of Endearment (Brooks)
SF Strangelove’s pick: The Right Stuff (Kaufman)
Academy pick: Gandhi (Attenborough)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Blade Runner (Scott)
Academy pick: Ordinary People (Redford)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Raging Bull (Scorsese)
Academy pick: Rocky (Avildsen)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Taxi Driver (Scorsese)
Academy pick: Oliver! (Reed)
SF Strangelove’s pick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
Academy pick: My Fair Lady (Cukor)
SF Strangelove’s pick: Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick)
The actual winners listed above are safe, predictable, comforting films. That couldn’t be more different from what I look for in a film. Sure, I want all the usual things: good story, acting, photography, and so on. But I also want to be challenged. I want to be shown something new, something I didn’t know that I was interested in until I saw it. I want to be surprised, not pandered to. That’s why I rarely agree with the Academy’s choice for best picture.
I will admit to doing some cherry picking to emphasize the cluelessness of the Academy. Every Oscar winner listed above is weak, ponderous, seriously flawed, or all three. As my broken-clock reference suggests, it should be apparent that if a worthy film wins the Oscar it is merely an accident.
You will notice that some of my choices are science fiction films (Brazil, Blade Runner, 2001, and Dr. Strangelove), a genre toward which the Academy is not usually generous. Does this reflect poorly on the science fiction films listed? Or on the Academy?
I bring this up since awards and their relevance is a continuing thread on this blog.
Wikipedia’s Academy Award for Best Picture